gardenchatter

Garden adventures and advice…


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Go Native!

 

If you don’t already, consider growing native plants in your garden. Plants are considered native if they originated and are growing naturally in a given area; they have adapted to the soils, the regional climate and wildlife – and will continue to survive climate changes like floods, drought, blizzards and frost. The list of benefits, and plants is long – and worth it in the end. Here’s a few reasons why we should all be going native…

Reduced Maintenance:
While there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, native plants offer a very low-maintenance alternative. Because they are resistant to pests, disease and drought, they don’t required the same level of attention that many other tender plants need to survive. Well established natives have deep roots that support them through dry times, they rarely require fertilizer and they help deter weeds and invasive species from moving in and taking over the garden. 
 
Soil and Water Conservation:
The deep root system of native plants increases the soils’ ability to store water and keeps that soil where it belongs. Natives also help reduce water runoff; their dense growth and large, lush foliage allow rainwater to drip into the soil rather than pooling around the plant or draining away. Native plants require far less watering than their non-native neighbours need, and they are strong, long-lived plants that rarely need replacing, providing overall good value for your gardening dollars. 
          
Wildlife:
Native plants provide wildlife with the habitat they need to survive. If you grow them, they will come. And stay. Native plants naturally produce the seeds, berries, nuts and nectar that the local wildlife enjoys. Natives provide a protective cover for wildlife – provide seeds, nuts and berries for mammals – insects, seeds and fruit for birds – nectar for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies and host plants for butterfly caterpillars. Plant a swamp or common milkweed; it’s the only larval plant that the monarch caterpillar lays it’s eggs on – bring monarchs back into your garden!
   
A Garden Full of Beautiful Plants:        
There are native plants available for every garden location – sun, shade, water, rock gardens and woodlands. Wildflowers in bloom combined with native grasses and ferns provide a stunning visual in any setting. Many native plants provide impressive, showy flowers, colourful berries, unique nuts and seeds and stunning fall foliage 
  
Create a Wetland:        
Add water features (or a pond) to your yard to encourage frogs, toads, dragon and damselflies to move in, and to provide a water source for birds and butterflies. These wetland creatures will thank you by working to keep the mosquito population down during the summer season. Use a variety of native plants in the pond, add large rocks and old logs to provide spots to soak up the sun and create mini-wetlands near a smaller water features by planting bog or pond plants in buried plastic containers to keep the roots wet. It won’t take long before your wetland neighbourhood starts to fill up.
     
Adding even a few natives into your current landscape each year will help to encourage a healthy and sustainable ecosystem you can enjoy for years to come. Grow a native plant – and save a life!


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Toad House

Guess they really do work.

This one is up on the deck – it’s the same toad that appears year after year (he’s shown in earlier blogs). This house was out for less than a week and he found his way into it – and seemed to enjoy it seeing as he stayed for quite a while and then made a few return visits.

From what I’ve read, if you build it, they will come – even an upside down flower pot with an opening large enough for the toad to fit through works. Some sites do recommend a second hole in the back of the house – an escape route for them if they are feeling threatened by an outsider. 

 

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The Garden Looks Fabulous (and I have a new friend!)

Wow! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve been chatting about my garden adventures, but I must say with all the time I’ve been spending out there, it sure looks incredible.

The raised veggie beds are doing great. Usually I’ve got cherry tomatoes and peppers in pots, but decided it was time to try something different. Corn, snap peas, regular peas, pole beans, beets, broccoli, brussels, squash, turnip, zucchini and cucumber. It’s quite exciting watching it change from day to day. And I do hope it all continues – fingers crossed!

And I have a new little friend. This toad has decided to make one particular pot on the deck his home. He spends the day wandering around somewhere – and without fail, he’s back every night, hopping into his pot where he snuggles in for the night. I don’t know that he ever leaves the deck, I assume he does, but it would be interesting to see how he gets back up there.

We discovered this rather large, well…quite fat, colorful toad sitting on the deck one day. Just sitting there, catching flies or whatever toads do during the day and apparently, minding his own business, not expecting anyone other than him, to try to run his life.

We, in our infinite toad wisdom decided he needed to be back down in the garden and moved him there, into a soft, shady spot under the ferns.

An hour later we saw what we thought was the same toad back on the deck. (Huh?) So once again, in our obviously knowledgeable and brilliant toad wisdom (because we somehow believe we are smarter than the average toad) we carried him back downstairs, once again where he could play in the garden he grew in. Happy happy toad.

And I swear, within 10 minutes he was right back up there.

That’s when I realized it was where he wanted to be – now no one is allowed to walk on the deck until I inspect it for toads.

Wonder how I’m going to deal with the skunk that now comes visiting………

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